London Maccabi Lions A 2-2 London Maccabi Lions B
Eilon Kennet, the manager of London Maccabi Lions A, was left to rue missed chances and the brilliance of young B team keeper Ben Adaki as his team’s title hopes suffered a blow in the inter-club derby in the JC MSFL Premier Division.
Following last week’s 3-1 victory at title rivals Redbridge Jewish Care A, the As were expected to claim back-to-back victories, but it was a game that Mike Pearson, the former MSFL Player of the Season, will want to forget. He missed four gilt-edged opportunities with Adaki’s reflexes saving the day.
Played in a torrent of rain, it was the A team which played most of the cultured football, but time and again they were foiled by Adaki, who made a succession of brilliant blocks, tips, and clearances from crosses. Kennet praised their club second team for their “dogged performance”. He said: “They fought to a man and their goalkeeper played an inspired game.
“However, we’ve paid the price for not taking our chances. That’s been our problem so far this season and we have to learn to put teams to bed.”
Lions B took the lead on 14 minutes when a beautifully flighted free kick from Max Radford was neatly glanced home by stand-in player-manager Danny Reuben.
Lions A upped the tempo and ten minutes later were level when Lee Bibring curled a neat finish from the left of the penalty-area.
What followed was 15 minutes of incessant pressure as Lions A tried to take a half-time lead; Adaki saving a one-on-one and Schwarz having a goal ruled out for a handball earlier in the move. But against the run of play it was Lions B who went in front, five minutes before the break. A scintillating strike on the turn by Max Radford, worthy of his namesake Ronnie, went in off Michael Elvey’s post from 30 yards.
A second-half pummelling of the Lions B goal was rewarded with just one goal from many chances, when Max Fieldgrass tapped home Pearson’s cross after an hour.
Despite excellent probing from substitute Ricky Kennet, who returned after nine months out with cruciate and calf injuries, the As continued to be frustrated by Adaki, who was well supported by the dogged Adam Savitz and Nick Astaire at centre-back.
For Reuben, the efforts of his team, which he selected against a spate of late drop-outs, were vindicated.
“We lost a player to appendicitis, others to illness, and had Ami Wynbourne and Max Radford out there after hardly playing in over a year,” he said.
“To a man we worked our socks off and kept a good shape. When we needed it, we had a fantastic helping hand from our goalie.”
LML A: Michael Elvey; Motti Colman (sub: Sam Arghebant), Ollie Leslie, Peter Lazard, Jacob Lew; Josh Morris, Avi Schwarz (sub: Ricky Kennet), Yoav Lebens, Max Fieldgrass; Mike Pearson, Lee Bibring.
LML B: Ben Adaki; Greg Levy, Nick Astaire, Adam Savitz, Will Beresford; James Stanley, Dan Levy, Sam Senchall, Ami Wynbourne; Max Radford (sub: David Kosky), Dan Ruben.